Blues would make a big mistake if they traded Kevin Shattenkirk

Getty
20 Comments

This is part of St. Louis Blues day at PHT …

We’ve seen some twists and turns in the “Will they or won’t they?” saga regarding the St. Louis Blues trading Kevin Shattenkirk.

The truth is, it shouldn’t even be a discussion. Shattenkirk is far too valuable to be shipped away in what would likely be a panic move.

The main issue for the Blues is that Shattenkirk needs a new contract after 2016-17, and it’s easy to flinch at what would likely be a big jump from his bargain $4.25 million cap hit.

Easier to stomach than you might realize

Still, the situation is a lot more manageable now than it looked heading into the off-season.

St. Louis let David Backes and Troy Brouwer walk. There’s not a big hike for Brian Elliott looming any longer after they traded him, too. Jaden Schwartz‘s extension didn’t break the bank.

Yes, they’ll need to lock up Alexander Steen, but Steen is 32 and Shattenkirk is 27. By GM Doug Armstrong’s logic regarding letting Backes leave, wouldn’t their younger blueliner be just as valuable – if not more of a priority – as Steen?

(Colton Parayko will need a deal after next season, too, but St. Louis has the extra leverage of the blueliner being an RFA.)

Cap Friendly pegs the Blues’ 2017-18 spending at about $53.6 million. Adding Shattenkirk would likely make for a tight squeeze, but he’s worth it.

Underestimating Shattenkirk?

Maybe the real problem is that Shattenkirk isn’t treated like the core piece he should be.

A lot of people probably believe that he’s an offense-only presence, and some of those people may reside in the Blues organization.

Let’s look at how he compares to Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester via fancy charts, though.

First, the “Own the Puck” comparison for Shattenkirk vs. Pietrangelo.

shattpet

The Shattenkirk vs. Bouwmeester battle is especially lopsided:

shattbou

In both cases, Shattenkirk stands taller in shot suppression and possession categories. In Bouwmeester’s case, it’s a landslide by both offensive and defensive metrics.

Now, we can quibble about certain details. As solid-to-fantastic as his possession stats can be, he enjoys cushy zone starts and maybe some matchup advantages.

At worst, Shattenkirk stands as Pietrangelo’s near-equal and it would be tough to make an argument for Bouwmeester instead, at least at this point in their respective careers. Shattenkirk should be on the Blues’ short list of guys who would be almost impossible to pry away.

Puzzling priorities

If you were Armstrong, wouldn’t you strive to move Bouwmeester, even if you needed to get him to waive his no-trade clause and might even be forced to retain some of the 32-year-old’s $5.4 million cap hit?

Wouldn’t you note that Paul Stastny‘s $7 million cap hit expires after 2017-18, so St. Louis would get some breathing room after the first year of Shattenkirk’s hypothetical next contract?

***

It’s difficult to imagine the Blues getting equal value for Shattenkirk in a trade, especially given the context of teams realizing that Armstrong isn’t necessarily dealing from a position of strength.

Frankly, the biggest problem might be that the Blues simply don’t understand Shattenkirk’s true value.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

austonmatthews
Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.